Aired November 5, 2001 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hello, everybody, welcome to CNN NEWSROOM for Monday. I'm Tom Haynes. And I'm pleased to welcome my colleague and my friend, Susan Friedman, who will be with us for the next couple of months.
SUSAN FRIEDMAN, CO-HOST: Hey, Tom. Thank you so much. I'm delighted to be here, and I'll be back later with a look at America's newest hero. Who is it? Find out when I return.
HAYNES: All right, great. Looking forward to that.
First up today, plans unfold for the next step in the war against terrorism. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been touring Central Asia talking military strategy with various officials there. Bill Delaney will tell us more about the goal of those meetings coming up in just a minute.
But first, we begin with Kelly Wallace who looks at President Bush's week ahead and the tough questions he faces.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Returning from Camp David, President Bush gears up for a public relations offensive on the war against terror, while his top advisers the defend military campaign.
GEN. RICHARD MYERS, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I think it's going exactly according to our plan. We have taken down the Taliban air defenses. We have disrupted their ability to resupply their own forces.
WALLACE: Myers concedes the Taliban still have a substantial force left, but says mores U.S. special operation teams are now on the ground to help the opposition, and believes as winter approaches the Taliban have the most to lose.
MYERS: The best equipped forces will be the opposition, not the Taliban. They are going to have a terrible time trying to resupply themselves. WALLACE: But some Arab, Muslim and even European nations are concerned about the progress of the war and civilian casualties in Afghanistan. While in the United States, a weekend "Newsweek" poll shows the American people are split on the government's ability to deal with bioterrorism.
Mr. Bush will try to answer those concerns this week with a series of high-profile speeches, an address by a satellite to a terrorism conference in Warsaw, Poland Tuesday, a prime-time speech Thursday on homeland security and his first address as president to the United Nations Saturday.
Some lawmakers say the administration needs to do a better job of getting the president's message to the Arab and Muslim people.
REP. HENRY HYDE (R), ILLINOIS: This is a country that invented Madison Avenue and Hollywood. And if we can't market our own virtues throughout the world, then we are pretty poor.
WALLACE; Democratic lawmakers point to the home front too, saying the president's advisers may need to fine tune their strategy.
SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: They are telling us to be on highest possible alert but also go about your daily lives, and you don't go about your daily lives being on highest possible alert.
WALLACE (on camera): Senior administration officials say it is not easy to fight a two-front war, but believe by continuing to educate the American people and by stepping up efforts to reach out to Arabs and Muslims, the president will maintain strong support in the United States and abroad.
Kelly Wallace, CNN, near Camp David, Maryland.
BILL DELANEY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): When Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf met Sunday in Islamabad with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Pakistani leader brought up his hope for a suspension U.S.-led bombing in Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: It is an important question, and certainly an issue that all of us are sensitive to. The reality is that the threats of additional terror acts are there.
DELANEY: Which in diplomatic speak indicated the bombing will go on. And as Pakistani power politics indicates, Pervez Musharraf, by not pressing the issue, feels secure enough to live with continued bombing, risking intensified protests during Ramadan.
But increasingly, Pervez Musharraf seems to be masterfully balancing his support for the U.S.-led coalition and support from most Pakistanis. (on camera): Two years ago, President Musharraf seized power here from the democratically elected civilian Nawaz Sharif who'd appointed him head of the military. Here in Pakistan, though, Musharraf's coup was seen by most Pakistanis not so much as a radical move, but as a return to moderation.
(voice-over): Restoring, above all, a degree of trust, squandered by successive corrupt civilian governments.
IFFAT MALIK, ANALYST: At the highest levels of government, particularly his own person, there is no corruption. People realize that even if this government has not delivered as much as they would have liked, it's still far, far better than the civilian governments that went before them.
DELANEY: Cleaning up corruption, part of Musharraf's critical efforts to breathe life into the Pakistani economy. Already now with the prospect of breathing more freely, since Pakistan's stance on the terror campaign let to the end of international economic sanctions.
Still, Musharraf walking a political razor's edge, reaching out to some opposition political parties, while throwing leaders of others calling for his ouster under house arrest. Last week, he banned any demonstrations calling for an end to his government. He detained without charge elderly nuclear scientists apparently suspected of possible collusion with the Taliban.
Toughness, edge, along the lines of ceasing years of Pakistani support for the Taliban, in the wake of the thousands of deaths from the terror attacks in the United States, while swiftly reshuffling intelligence chiefs and officers he considered too sympathetic to the Taliban.
Musharraf's resilient also though because he is simply gifted at getting his message across to most mainstream Pakistanis.
MALIK: He's a great communicator. He regularly comes on television, he comes across as very open, very honest. And therefore, people, while they might not think he's been, you know, very good at his job, they accept that he's sincere.
DELANEY: Musharraf said he expects intensified unrest if bombing continues during Ramadan, though few expect that to seriously rattle his government or isolate it in the Islamic world.
RASUL BAKHSH RAIS, POLITICAL ANALYST: It's not going to stir up a major trouble in the Muslim countries. Many of the policy makers understand the dilemma that Muslim countries are in, the United States is in.
DELANEY: In changing times then, a man who insists he hasn't.
GEN. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: I don't change with circumstances. I remain the same.
DELANEY: Though with nothing in the world quite what it was less than two months ago, tens of millions in Musharraf's own country and in the world now wait to see just who Pervez Musharraf becomes.
Bill Delaney, CNN, Islamabad, Pakistan.
ANNOUNCER: Melinda Benson from Kingsley, Pennsylvania, asks, "How does the al Qaeda operate?"
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORIST ANALYST: Al Qaeda operates in the following manner: Bin Laden decides the general policy objectives of the group, then those matters are put before various committees, which are below bin Laden. There's a military committee. There's a religious committee. There's a media affairs committee. And there's a business committee.
And then bin Laden's views are disseminated further down the chain of command to followers, many of whom have never actually met with bin Laden.
HAYNES: Some Arab League members are dismissing an appeal by Osama bin Laden for Muslims to join in a holy war. Several international leaders meeting in Syria said this weekend that bin Laden does not speak for the world's Arabs and Muslims.
Rula Amin has that report.
RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In their monthly meeting, Arab foreign ministers wrestled with what message to send to the constituency and to the world. On Saturday, Osama bin Laden said the war is between Muslims and Christians. Egypt's foreign minister was clear of where his Muslim country stands.
AHMAD MAHER, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I think there is a war between bin Laden and the world.
AMIN: As Saudi's Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said, the Saudi-born-citizen is "a man with no shame and his comments are not worth commenting on."
And while all Arab countries say they condemn terrorism, they have differences with the United States on how to define it and how to fight it. Syria's foreign minister was the most vocal. He accused Israel of state terrorism and he accused the United States of unconditional support for Israeli practices.
"The terrorists use this as a cover," he said. "And Israel's continued occupation of Arab land becomes a source for more terrorism," he warned.
The participants also responded indirectly to some U.S. official's comment, which described the Palestinian intifada as a calculated terrorism and to assert demands that Palestinians stop confronting Israel.
NABIL SHA'ATH, PALESTINIAN CABINET MINISTER: I thought they were totally misplaced and unfair, and they lend Mr. Sharon an opportunity to expand his own brand of state terrorism and aggression.
AMRE MOUSSA, ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY-GENERAL (through translator): The continuation of occupation and the escalation of Israeli practices is something that will only breed resistance. It is not right to ask Palestinians to succumb to Israeli aggression.
AMIN: There was a welcome here to President Bush's recent statement supporting the creation of a Palestinian state but there's also skepticism. The Arab countries appealed to the United States to follow up on its promises.
The Arab League Secretary-General warned. "If the statement and promises are not followed by actions, we consider them as political ploys," he said.
(on camera): A possibility that is a belief among many Arabs. Arab governments are hoping the United States, their allies, won't let them down and won't give bin Laden and extremists like him more ammunition to appeal to a very skeptical Arab street (ph).
Rula Amin, CNN, Damascus.
HAYNES: Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN begin their annual meeting in Brunei today. Tops on their agenda, terrorism and how to deal with the affects of the U.S. attacks on the global economy.
As CNN's Maria Ressa tells us, via telephone now, there are some differences and some disagreements.
MARIA RESSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN agreed to condemn terrorism, but they differ on how much to support the U.S. strikes on Afghanistan.
Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, and Malaysia, which together account for about a third of the Muslims in the world, criticize the attacks on Afghanistan and have called for its end before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. At the other end, the Philippines, which is working closely with the United States in fighting its own terrorist group the Abu Sayyaf, though the ASEAN declaration makes no mention of Afghanistan.
RODOLFO SEVERINO, ASEAN SECRETARY-GENERAL: The message is that ASEAN opposes terrorism in all its forms, that it is determined to take measures to combat it and that therefore will because we are confident that these measures will be effective, the economy should be safe from terrorist attacks.
RESSA: For these leaders, the economy is the main issue and how ASEAN will deal with a struggling U.S. economy. ASEAN's top performer, Singapore, has already announced it is in recession. The way to get out of it, push forward by eliminating trade barriers, integrate economies to make ASEAN a strong trading block. There are also hopes China's entry into the WTO will have some trickle down effect. What the September 11 attacks have emphasized again, say these leaders, is how interconnected the world is.
Maria Ressa, CNN, at the ASEAN Summit in Brunei.
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It's all at this Web address where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy. It's free. It's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.
HAYNES: Well more traces of anthrax have been found in New York, this time the spores were found in a videotape sent from NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw's office to city hall. The tape, which contained footage of a White House briefing, was mailed several weeks ago before Brokaw's assistant tested positive for skin anthrax.
There are so many unanswered questions regarding the anthrax incidents and we'll sort through a few of them coming up as we hear from Washington, D.C.'s chief health officer.
Now here's our Joel Hochmuth with an overview of the anthrax crisis.
JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a month ago the first case of anthrax was confirmed in the United States in the wave of bioterrorism sweeping the nation. The victim worked at a tabloid publisher in Florida. In the weeks since, it seems Americans are getting precious few answers to a growing list of questions.
DR. DAVID SATCHER, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: I know that people would like to know more sooner, but I think people want accurate information and people must understand that we're learning together. This is new. We have not faced a bioterrorist attack before with anthrax or a bioterrorist attack at all, so we are learning together. HOCHMUTH: Since that first case was confirmed, each passing day seems to bring new word of the growing threat. To date, cases have been confirmed in New York, New Jersey, Washington and Florida and so far, four have been fatal. Public officials have tried to soothe a nervous nation with what they do know.
Especially hard hit has been the nation's mail system with evidence of anthrax contamination showing up in post offices largely in Washington and New Jersey. No one knows whether the postal system was an intended target of the terrorists or was it simply collateral damage in a plan to harm high profile Americans, NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: I think unfortunately the terrorists have succeeded in their intention which is precisely to create terror.
HOCHMUTH: Public officials at all levels admit they are learning as they go along. For instance, it wasn't until postal workers started getting sick that officials realized anthrax spores could pass through the paper of an envelope. Before, it was assumed the letter had to be opened.
DR. JEFFREY KOPLAN, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: I said last week that inhalation anthrax is hard to imagine coming from the external portion of a letter and I still think that that is difficult. But the mail can be contaminated, we've learned, and we learn something new everyday in this investigation.
HOCHMUTH: Perhaps the biggest unanswered questions surround who is ultimately responsible. Is the anthrax scare connected to the terrorist attacks September 11 or is some domestic terrorist responsible?
ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: Nothing yet has been ruled out and investigators continue to follow the evidence wherever it may lead.
SATCHER: There is a lot we don't know about what the attacker is doing and that's the difficult part. We don't know what the attacker is doing or what the attacker is going to do next in terms of strategy.
HOCHMUTH: Just what the terrorists plan next is perhaps the most unsettling aspect of the current threat. Just how much anthrax is still out there and who could be next on the hit list, calming such fears won't be easy.
HAYNES: Well calming fears is just one job for city health directors. Washington, D.C.'s Chief Health Officer Dr. Ivan Walks has been on the front lines of the current threat. He's been a reassuring voice even as evidence of anthrax contamination showed up throughout the nation's capital.
NEWSROOM's Kimberly Abbott sat down with him to get his personal reflections on the current crisis.
KIMBERLY ABBOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tell me how this whole crisis has affected you personally.
DR. IVAN WALKS, CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER, WASHINGTON, D.C.: Well, I have two young children and I don't get to see them as much, but I have an older daughter who is in medical school who calls me now with anthrax information from all of her textbooks. So I think it's gotten my whole family sort of involved.
ABBOTT: What's been the hardest part for you?
WALKS: I think the hardest part has been really balancing between the public official part of me whose job it is to talk to people and to make sure that I give a clear consistent message and then the scientist part of me that's looking at all this information coming in so I can make sure that I know as much as anybody knows about this.
ABBOTT: How do you balance the need to give the public the most up-to-date information with the desire not to incite panic or to alarm anybody?
WALKS: Well, I think that people look at who's bringing the message. And if I come out there and I'm panicked -- I always tell people, when you see me running, it's time to run. And don't run behind me, catch up and run with me. But I'm not running, and I think that people look at me and they understand that I will tell them when to be concerned, I'll tell them how concerned to be but it doesn't help to just spread a lot of rumors and conjecture and theories that have no basis. So we try to focus on the facts and if people believe you, if people believe that you will tell them when it's time to run, then they don't start running on their own.
ABBOTT: Has there been any point that you wanted to run? Have you been scared at any point?
WALKS: No, I really haven't. I am -- I'm very concerned, I'm very worried, that's my job. If I stop worrying, I need to find another job because a lot of people look at this particular position, health officer, and they figure he's the doc, he's going to tell us and that's my job. But I haven't been afraid because I mean I have a different perspective. I look at over 10,000 people a year are killed by the flu. There are a lot of things that hurt us and that kill us and people have tried to use the mail to kill us before. We've had the Unabomber and things like that, so all of that perspective has to be brought by the people whose job it is to worry and make good decisions.
ABBOTT: So even with all of that perspective, were you prepared for this?
WALKS: No, nobody was prepared for what happened on September 11 and then what happened in the aftermath. What we did, though, is we got as prepared as we could be. We had a plan in place. We knew what we would do if this happened. That plan was on the mayor's desk. It was called a Day One plan because you don't have five days to respond when something like this happens.
And actually, our first confirmed anthrax case here in the District was confirmed at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. By noon that Sunday, we had things set up, getting people their medication they needed. And aside from those first -- those first people who were already infected in those first couple of days who just horribly lost their lives because of these evil folks putting anthrax in the mail, the other folks who have become sick here in the District, we've been able to get them care early and all three of them are expected to recover.
ABBOTT: Do you feel like throughout this process you've just felt your way through in the dark? Do you -- how much don't officials know about anthrax?
WALKS: I think we know a lot about anthrax. What we don't know a lot about is who's putting it in the mail and which letter it's in. Those are like FBI, police type questions, and we are certainly encouraging them and we know how hard they're working to get those answers. But we know -- we've proven there -- that there are folks like Dr. Henfling (ph), who is my hero. He works out at the hospital that first found this guy and called us and said, guess what, this guy's a postal worker and it's not cutaneous. We think he has inhalation anthrax. We all went, really, that can happen. So people are still discovering things, but people like that who are being good investigators, good medical detectives are helping us learn a lot very quickly.
ABBOTT: And now what, do you feel like you're ready for whatever this brings?
WALKS: I think that we've had some very good planning discussions. I think that we have an appropriate response. Whatever comes up, we are not going to sit and go, oh my gosh, what are we going to do? We know what to do. We know how to respond.
FRIEDMAN: They were and continue to be a constant in every city and every town always just a phone call away, firefighters. September changed the perception many people have of these men and women sworn to protect and save.
The smoke has since cleared and a new American hero has emerged as Beth Nissen explains.
BETH NISSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Firefighters have heroism built into their job description. It takes courage and strength both to battle one of the most dangerous, destructive forces on earth.
DAVID BLANKENHORN, INSTITUTE FOR AMERICAN VALUES: They are heroes because they protect us, you know? They go in where people are in danger, and they save their lives.
NISSEN: Yet since September 11th, firefighters -- especially New York City firefighters -- have become the subject of a newly- pronounced public devotion, reverence, near-worship. Firefighters are depicted on magazine covers. Firefighter Halloween costumes sold out this year. New York City department stores honor firefighters in window displays.
BLANKENHORN: We're just grateful to them in some real and intense way. I mean, here in New York, people -- they go up to these guys at the firehouses and on the streets, and they just -- they just want to say how grateful they are.
NISSEN: What has turned fire stations into shrines and firefighters into icons is what happened on September 11th.
BLANKENHORN: I think the most vivid single image that people have of September 11th in their minds -- besides seeing the towers collapse -- is of the firefighters going in to rescue people as everyone was trying to get out.
You know, with what these guys do, there's no moral ambiguity to it. They just go in and get the innocent people. They go in and save them. It's like a -- it's like Superman.
NISSEN: That analogy isn't lost on those who create comic book super heroes. John Romita Jr. has been drawing Spiderman since 1980. He's working on a new comic book issue, with Spiderman at ground zero, helping firefighters and rescue workers.
JOHN ROMITA JR., "SPIDERMAN" ARTIST: Spiderman is secondary. The real heroes are the firemen. They are up front and primary. These people are everyday people doing superhero-like things.
NISSEN: Romita based his sketches on news photographs taken at the World Trade Center after the attacks.
ROMITA: The photographs I dealt with were all of them doing things heroically, grabbing people, holding people, leading people away, in the middle of the -- of the heat, in the middle of the -- that horror. And working until they took a break, took off their masks, took off their helmets. Cried a little bit. Took a break, took a drink and went back in there again.
I can't, in my mind, thank them enough, all of them, for what they're doing for me and for my family and for everybody in the country.
NISSEN: This new hero worship, say some social scientists, is something of a sea change for Americans grown increasingly cynical.
BLANKENHORN: We've gone from debunking heroes to needing heroes. We are in a time of such real danger and in a sense physical vulnerability and we need to be protected by the strong and brave.
NISEEN: And the selfless. Firefighters seem all the more noble because they are motivated by service, not reward. Full-time firefighters are only moderately paid, and 74 percent of the nation's firefighters are volunteer.
They carry people from fires, pry people from auto accidents, revive people after heart attacks. They save lives, and sometimes lose their own. 343 New York City firefighters died September 11th.
BLANKENHORN: We have a need for heroes as a species, you know. That is one of the distinguishing traits of humans. We have a need to have an idealized sense of who we are at our best.
NISSEN: At a time when the nation is challenged to do its best in the face of great uncertainty -- of unknown risks -- firefighters set a standard, of readiness, response, and resolve. Beth Nissen, CNN, New York.
FRIEDMAN: Finally today, the New York City Marathon. Perhaps unlike any other. The race was dubbed "United We Run" in honor of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
HAYNES: Ethiopian runner Tesfaye Jifar finished in record time, 2 hours, 7 minutes and 43 seconds, if you can believe it. Not only was he the first from his country to win the race, he smashed a record that had held since 1989.
In the women's division, the winner was Margaret Okayo of Kenya. She, too, broke the course record for women. The marathon is a 26.2- mile course.
I could never run that distance.
FRIEDMAN: I doubt I could either, Tom.
(VIDEO CLIPS FROM NEW YORK CITY MARATHON)
FRIEDMAN: Runners and spectators alike faced unprecedented security at this year's event. Armed Coast Guard officers patrolled the harbor and runners were cautioned not to accept water or anything else from bystanders watching the race.
HAYNES: Yes, and it's good to know everything went well at the New York City Marathon.
And that is it for CNN NEWSROOM for Monday. Thanks for watching.
FRIEDMAN: We'll see you back here tomorrow. Join us then.
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